Medical advances

The human body is a very complex organism, consisting of many interconnecting and interdependent systems.  These include the nervous system and the brain, the blood circulatory system and the heart, the urinary and genital systems, the lymphatic system, the musculo-skeletal system, the sensory systems of sight, smell, hearing and touch, and so on.  The functioning of the organism results from the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.

It is not surprising therefore that there are many diseases resulting from aberrant or malfunctioning of any one of these systems. These diseases can result from indigenous faults such as genetic errors, from exogenous infections or from physical factors, such as accident, repetitive use, or from aging.  More and more, as people are living longer and infections evolve, new diseases become prevalent, such as AIDS and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Recent research at Tel Aviv University (TAU) Sackler Medical Center on melanoma, the most dangerous skin cancer, has shed light on its mechanism of development that has potential for curative prevention.  It was discovered by a team working with Dr. Carmit Levy that prior to the spread of the cancer it sends out tiny vesicles containing molecules of mictro-RNA.  The researchers also found chemical substances that can stop this process of metastasis, leading to possible drug condidates.

It is now necessary to approach genetic diseases such as cancer with genetic analysis.  For example, what is called lung cancer is but a name for the organ where the cancer develops, but genetic analysis has shown that there are 4 distinct forms of lung cancer each with a different genetic profile, i.e. a different combination of genes that are activated.  The current drug treatment for lung cancer only affects three of them, but the other is resistant to this treatment.  Hence knowing the genetic profile of lung cancer or any other form of cancer can be crucial in making treatment decisions.


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